Archive for the ‘Voting Rights Act’ Tag

John Lewis, Dead at Age 80   1 comment

I want to see young people in America feel the spirit of the 1960s
and find a way to get in the way. To find a way to get in trouble.
Good trouble, necessary trouble.

–John Lewis

John Lewis-art-72John Lewis, Dead At Age 80 — Photo-Artistry by kenne

I came of age in the 1960s, a time of national unrest centering around civil rights and the Vietnam War. I served three years in the Army during the Vietnam War era, marched and demonstrated for peace and justice. Now nearing my 80th birthday, I remember will the assassinations John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy while embracing the “Beat” generation, its writers, and beliefs.

Having lived in Alabama in the 40s, I couldn’t help but notice state troopers and county posse men attacking the unarmed marchers with billy clubs and tear gas after they passed over the county line. The event became known as Bloody Sunday (March 7, 1965). After Bloody Sunday, President Johnson and Congress began working on a voting rights law on March 15.

A third march started on March 2, averaging 10 miles a day, the marchers marched “Jefferson Davis Highway” from Salma to Montgomery.  The marchers arrived in Montgomery on March 24 and at the Alabama State Capitol on March 25. With thousands having joined the campaign, 25,000 people entered the capital city that day in support of voting rights.

The route is memorialized as the “Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail”, and is designated as a U.S. National Historic Trail. The Voting Rights Act became law on August 6, 1965.

“On the front lines of the bloody campaign to end Jim Crow laws, with blows to his body and a fractured skull to prove it, John Lewis was a valiant stalwart of the civil rights movement and the last surviving speaker from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.”

He died on the same day as did another civil rights stalwart, the Rev. C.T. Vivian, a close associate of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For Rep. Lewis, the Black Lives Movement was a very moving experience, “. . . very moving to see hundreds of thousands of people from all over America and around the world take to the streets — to speak up, to speak out, to get into what I call ‘good trouble.” John Lewis was a genuine “profile in courage.”

“When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair,
you have a moral obligation to say something,”
he said on the House floor, December 2019, to impeach President Trump.
“To do something. Our children and their children will ask us,
‘What did you do? What did you say?’
For some, this vote may be hard. But we have a mission
and a mandate to be on the right side of history.”

— kenne

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